It was a sunny morning in Freelancetopia. The birds were singing and the flowers were blooming. It was so nice that Princess CeeGee declared it a good day to write. With the royal family away, all of her distractions were gone.
Sitting down at her laptop she began unwrapping an enchanted chocolate bar, which contained magical properties that could make a writer very happy! In chocolately bliss, the princess surfed the web until she came across a nasty article titled: “Why Journalists Deserve Low Pay”. The princess was no journalist at a newspaper, but she could not help but notice how little a writer’s work was valued. She was seeing $2 writing jobs everywhere, even at her favorite jobboards. This made Princess CeeGee very sad, and broke. She was just starting out as a freelancer and couldn’t understand why some editors weren’t paying reasonable rates. If this kept up, she could not pay the mortgage on the royal palace or buy enchanted chocolate.
Sound familiar? We’ve all wondered at some point why a writer’s work isn’t valued. We figure maybe we’re just mediocre, and aren’t worth superstar wages – but that’s B.S. It’s insulting for any thinking person to be offered a job with little or no pay. These editors aren’t working for nothing, or next to nothing, so why should you?
Up until a few months ago, I thought that it was just freelancing that wasn’t respected. But now, I’m not so sure. Case in point: a few months ago I read Hearst Newspaper Corp. was going to Helium to get content for their ailing newspapers. Yes, you heard me right. The publishers of The San Francisco Chronicle and The Advocate are trolling for cheap labor, too! It surprised me because, four months ago, I read a masthead for a magazine owned by Hearst that was incredibly snobbish. Basically, it said, “Don’t bother pitching if you haven’t been published in a major magazine because our standards are very high!” Well, I guess those standards are changing now.
But even that didn’t bother me because I was an aspiring novelist (who ain’t these days?) and freelancing was something I did to achieve that goal. Then, a week later, I came across an even bigger abomination, a book called: Some Writers Deserve to Starve. It’s supposed to be a true, but harsh commentary on the publishing industry. WHAT??? I work hard, I don’t deserve to starve!
When I calmed down, it really hit me. Writers across the board aren’t respected. Remember the Hollywood writer’s strike of 08′? When the Hollywood writers were striking, it cost the state of California an estimate 1.5 to 3 billion dollars. The major networks lost millions rather than pay their writers a slice of mobile, electronic and DVD sales. They stopped production on all their popular shows to hang on to a few pennies. And don’t tell me it’s the economy, the internet, or the moon aligning with Jupiter. It’s greed plain and simple.
We aren’t famous actors who have fans that demand their favorite characters show up for the next episode. Many of us are unknowns and don’t have paparazzi following us and promoting the heck out of our projects. When our job is done, there is no applause or acceptance speech. Instead, we put our noses back to the grind once more. Because we have to inform, entertain and provoke thought all over again. And, in my opinion, that alone deserves the highest respect!
CeeGee is a budding novelist from The Rust Belt who also freelances here and there. A total masochist, she goes to her computer every day to hustle for that next gig. And when she dies, she wants to be buried with her laptop.